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Notebook: McCaffery talks White, non-conference schedule

BY BEN SCHUFF | FEBRUARY 15, 2012 6:30 AM

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Aaron White didn't know much about the Hawkeyes when he committed to Iowa in October 2010.

The 6-8 forward had never been in the state prior to arriving in Iowa City for a recruiting visit two years ago, and he said on Tuesday he knew "nothing" about the program at the time.

 

Then White offered one recollection.

"The only thing I remembered about [Iowa] was I watched them when they played Northwestern State and got upset [in the 2006 NCAA Tournament]," the freshman said and laughed. "That might not be the best memory."

White's play last week sparked a handful of questions about the freshman from reporters during head coach Fran McCaffery's press availabilities this week.

White posted his second career double-double in an 83-64 loss at Northwestern on Feb. 9.

The Strongsville, Ohio, native wasn't heavily recruited coming out of Strongsville High — Northwestern and Boston College were the only other major colleges to offer him a scholarship.

The lack of attention he was drawing from other schools didn't turn McCaffery off.

"I just want to put my eyes on [a player] and decide if he can play," he said. "I don't care who else is recruiting him. I never do. I mean, some of the best players I've recruited didn't have much. And you know, sometimes we have gotten great recruits who didn't amount to much. That's just the nature of recruiting."

McCaffery recalled seeing White for the first time at an AAU event and knew right away he could make an impact for the Hawkeyes.

"The first couple practices, he was nervous," McCaffery said during a teleconference on Monday. "About the third or fourth practice, he was dominant."

At a Tuesday press conference, the second-year head coach offered even higher praise.

"I've been doing this long enough that I feel pretty confident that if I go watch Aaron White play, I can tell that he can play in the Big Ten. I mean, he can play in the NBA. So he certainly can play in the Big Ten."

Nonconference scheduling

Iowa's nonconference schedule drew a lot attention when it was released in early June because the team wasn't scheduled to leave the state until Big Ten play. The Hawkeyes played at Iowa State and Northern Iowa and faced Creighton at a neutral-site game in Des Moines.

McCaffery said on Tuesday he hopes as the team improves over the coming seasons, the nonconference schedule will become tougher.

The Big Ten and Pac 12 reached an agreement in late December for competition in all sports, with basketball games possibly beginning as soon as next year.

"We don't have [a Pac 12 team] scheduled," McCaffery said about next season's schedule. "But I don't know that it hasn't been indicated that we have to. We are talking to some teams in the Pac 12, though."

McCaffery also said Iowa is "not locked into, but we are talking to" teams from other major conferences.

Guard Devyn Marble acknowledged Iowa's pre-Big Ten schedule could use some beefing up.

"There's definitely some more competition in our nonconference that we could use," he said.


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